I was taken with the urge to read cozy mysteries about four/five months ago, and I have spend a great deal of time sifting through the collection at my local library, looking for the right fit. The good thing about cozy mysteries is that there are almost as many different types of series as there are readers. Something for everyone if you know what to look for. Whether you love cooking or crafting, or music or books, or pets or babies, there is something out there for anyone. The story can have a hint of supernatural, or be completely in the realm of fantasy, or be completely mainstream.
After a lot of trial and error, I figured that I wanted something with books, especially those starring librarians, and with pets, with maybe just a hint of the supernatural. I found exactly that in the Magical Cats series, written by Sofie Kelly, a pseudonym of Darlene Ryan.
The Magical Cats series follows Kathleen Paulson, a Boston-born librarian who takes a one-year contract to oversee the modernization of a small Minnesota town. She adopts, or gets adopted, by two almost-feral cats, who have magical abilities: one can turn invisible, and the other can walk through walls. They also have the “cozy mystery pet” syndrome: they know exactly when to get involved in a homicide investigation, and they have a knack for finding the piece of clue that will guide their non-professional-investigative-person owners to the guilty party.
When I first began reading the series, I was worried that the supernatural element might be a bit too much. After trying some “witchy” cozies and getting annoyed with the magical element, I wanted something more mainstream. But the magic here is so specific, it’s an original twist that doesn’t feel so far removed from reality. (Which should give you an idea of the talent of Sofie Kelly: the cats who turn invisible and walk through walls still feel realistic.)
The main character, Kathleen, is a great protagonist. I was expecting more of a book-lover vibe from her, although she does occasionally breaks into book quotes, but it is clear that she is a librarian at heart. She’s the straight man to her family of crazy actors and artists, which leads to some interesting reactions vis-a-vis her super-powered cats. And, most of all, she is a cat-lover. Because, really, it’s the cats that sell the story. There are many well developed and amusing secondary characters in the from of Kathleen’s family and friends, and a police detective romantic interest. But it’s all about the cats.
The series is six books along so far. A seventh book is planned for this fall. I can’t wait, but I don’t have a choice.
eta: It occurred to me that this post might look better with the covers of the books discussed. So, here is the series, so far
and here is the upcoming book